Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The lasts

We put up our Christmas decorations over the past weekend. As we were erecting our fake tree (because it's cleaner, cheaper and easier than a real one) I said to Joc, "Do you realize this is our last Christmas with just us, for like at least 18 years, probably longer." We just sort of looked at each other and realized what that meant to each of us. I know things are going to change, dramatically, but we'll be the same people... right? I got to thinking, how many other "lasts" are we going to have over the next 7 months?
Last travels with the only hassle being the dog and what to do with her, last evenings out doing whatever without childcare planned, last days "off" with nothing to do... I could probably make quite a list. But I won't.
This is scary. It's nerve wracking and unclear. It's going to be hard, but I've done hard before. It's gonna be fun and I love fun. It's gonna be like nothing we can even imagine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh my aching...

well, i'm about to enter my second trimester and my fingers, toes, eyes, and any other appendage that is crossable is crossed that I will start feeling better very soon. I've just been so freaking nauseous that I'm irritable. The last week has been the worst yet, but today (and I don't want to jinx myself) I've been much improved. My nausea was restricted to two times... that's really good as before it was simply constant nausea. I dry heaved once, so it's really good. Friday marks the start of week 14 and 2nd trimester, so hold your breath for me. I am feeling more energetic though, and from what I read that's how the second trimester is. here's hoping.
Here's a debate Joc and I are having (although it's not really a debate as she says she'll go with whatever I want): finding out the sex of the child. I'm all for surprise at the delivery but she's leaning towards finding out for planning, naming and bonding pre-birth. I don't feel like it's that big of a deal to find out or not, I mean we're having a baby- it's gonna be a boy or a girl. What's the big deal?! We have 5 more weeks as the ultrasound won't happen till week 19 or 20, it ain't even scheduled yet so there's plenty of time to decide.

Class is nearing an end, and I'm so ready! I keep looking at these students and thinking, "was I this slow and scared as a student nurse?!" I don't think so. Every single clinical day is a day of trying my patience. It's consistently, what I would never say to their faces, stupid questions... just irritating and what I consider obvious reasoning. Like, screwing on a needle to draw up some drugs from a vial and saying, "wait, i don't see how this fits together" Seriously!!! They are a perfect fit?!!!! But, of course, I keep the steam from spewing from my ears and the frustration out of my voice and just say, "it fits, why don't you see what you can figure out". UGh. It's possible that my pregnancy hormones could be contributing but sometimes I just want to push them aside and said, "watch me do this". Or my one of my favorites, we were gonna give an IVpush med via a central line (sorry non medical friends, i'm gonna lose you for a moment) and we drew up the lasix, had a flush. We go into the patient's room, and the student proceeds to clean the hub of the line then the syringe end, then the hub, then the syringe. I said, "whatcha doing?" and she said, "well it could be dirty" I said, "did you drop it on the ground? Or maybe licked it after you drew it up?" she giggled. I was dead serious. I said, with the family in the room and watching, "we took it out of sterile packaging, drew from a clean top and sterile container then ambulated directly to the room. All the while, holding the syringe in your hand, covered. How would it have become dirty?" Lord help me. My other favorite was when I asked the student to go look at the antibiotic hanging so I could verify it in the MAR and she came back and told me it was Penicillin Strawberry. (I'll let you take a moment to giggle because she said it with a straight face) I said, those sound more like allergies than an antibiotic... could you look again? Oy.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like the interactions (usually) and the teaching aspect is fun. But nursing school is ancient. The things they teach sometimes are so old school then they get into the field and they say "why didn't they teach us this in school?" The honest answer, most of the teachers haven't been at a bedside since Florence Nightingale was nursing. For these reasons, I feel that I can't just quit because it's been a challenge. It'll probably get better, this group of students might not be the greatest and smartest but they'll still make good nurses. No one is unsafe, cleaning a syringe and hub isn't going to kill anyone, it's just gonna take extra time. They will eventually learn the "real" way nursing is practiced at the bedside... I just hate to contribute to the statement, "I didn't learn anything in nursing school."

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's time...

Hello everyone!
It's been well over a month since my last post... I apologize. There are a few reasons for this- first and foremost is I felt that by writing a post about frivolous things would take away from the fact that we are pregnant and I couldn't tell you all yet!!!! That's right, we did it. We're gonna be parents!!! (I can't tell you how freaky that sounds, and life changing- astonishingly life altering)
To address your questions:
We are 11 weeks along, just a week or so (depending on who is counting) from the 2nd trimester. I've been feeling okay, mostly nauseous 24/7 since week 7, although after my first appointment, B6 supplements were recommended and the nausea is now a bit better and not constant. According to my sister Juli, her nausea lasted until week 12 then poof, gone. I'm so holding out for that moment. I think I've gained about a pound so far, my goal is 15-20 lbs as I'm already a FFG (full figured gal). I've been trying to stay active but my busy schedule and commute to Lansing Monday and Tuesdays have put a cramp in my plans. But I haven't given up yet and I will find my niche. Our due date is May 26 and we are not finding out the sex. We do have names but there are so freaking many and the pressure to pick one out for a little person, to have their whole life, is a lot!
So, that's all that's new in our lives. (c: Pretty big deal, right? (c:
We are very excited.
p.s. please don't post anything on facebook just yet, as the news is still being spread to my immediate family members. thanks!

Monday, September 13, 2010

leave the light on...

It has begun, today was in hospital orientation and tomorrow, the students take an official assignment. Finally. Now, if I could feel like an experienced and knowledgable instructor. What a pain in the butt. I have a mentor who has been extremely helpful in keeping me organized but I have to say I'm sick of making to do lists and getting through one to start a new one. Oy! It'll all pay off, I know it.

Lasagna is in the oven, almost finished so I'm only posting to say all is well on this home front. Just staying afloat these days. My running and biking has slacked considerably in the past two months, I went for a 14 mile bike ride over the weekend and barely maintained 15mph average (I can generally hit 17-18) but it was ridiculously windy so I chalked it up to that. I have to get back in the busy life timelines and squeezing workouts in when I have time not just in the mornings that I've really gotten used to over the last year (since i went parttime at work). I know, here I am complaining about not enough time to workout and my friend Jennifer who is a missionary in Africa is struggling with keeping a friend alive on so many levels. I'm humbled now.

There's my buzzer, off to consume some dinner. Any thoughts and prayers you can send out to Jennifer and Tim in Africa would be appreciated! (she's the blog labeled "A time as this")

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shiny and New

Hello again, how is everyone?
I'd say I'm doing okay. I am a bit stressed at this time but that should be resolving in about a week's time.

You see, I started my new MSU job about a week and a half ago. Who knew it was so much paperwork and eye drooping orientation to go through? It's tiring really and all I want is to meet my 9 students and get on with the semester. But, alas, I must sit through the meetings, learn the politics of the school and complete all the required paperwork. I have about 5 lists of "to dos" prior to Sept 1st and I keep misplacing them. This could be lending to my stress? The lists, I'm afraid, are tending to lengthen as I worry about what to cover in post clinical, if I should write some case studies for the students, and if the staff on my unit will be as welcoming as last semester (this I'm not too worried about as I am phoning the manager today to set up a little 1 on 1 to chat about expectations, etc from me and the students). Like I said, it'll be okay and the semester will fly by. I secretly hope MSU offers to extend my contract and welcome me back in the spring for another go round since all this paperwork and orientation is exhaustive who would want to do it again?! I even have an "office" and I put "" around that because it's really a conference-like room that a few of us new kids share along with the mailboxes and copier that the rest of the profs share.... so really, even though Joc got all excited and told me to take a picture of it, it's not a true office but it's a step in the right direction. I hope I'm gonna love this just as much as I dream I will.

Other new and shiny things include the basement glassblock windows that are being installed as I type this entry. Joc and I have gone round and round about how to best waterproof our basement. A sump pump is in our future (I think) but she'd rather DIY it and leave it to the next bloke who buys the house. I'd rather add the pump and add the value to the house and be able to tell the next guy, yes our basement leaked but we installed new windows, sealed the cracks and put in a sump pump. Guaranteed dry baby! One thing we agreed on was new windows, so for relatively cheap, we are getting those fancy glass blocks. I'm pretty excited. The dude just finished knocking out the old windows and will start placing the new one's shortly. PUMPED!

And for those keeping track, we are still not pregnant. Sigh, but the prayers and thoughts are appreciated and whether our children come from us or from another, we will build our family.

Now I will start at the top of my shiny and new "to do" list and start crossing things off damn it, I need to see some progress already!

Until we meet again...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can I be political for a minute?

I'm not usually politically charged on my blog or really in my life (I try to have some clue as to what is happening but who am I kidding? I have minimal passion therefore minimal interest...).

Not sure how many of you watch the news or keep up an interest in what is happening in California but a judge recently revoked the ban on gay marriage that voters had passed about a year ago. I'm happy about this for many reasons and very disheartened by the right-wing response for many reasons.

I can't wrap my head around why on earth someone would make such a big deal, and I emphasize big, about two people committing to each other for the rest of their lives. For fuck's sake! Why do you care what I do? Why is who I love such a huge deal to you that you want it written in the constitution (of your state but also the country) that I cannot marry the person I have to sleep with, not you?! I just don't see how my marriage affects you.

Canada, where I am legally married, has recognized gay marriage for years, let's go up there and see how many marriages have ended because gay people can express their love for their spouse? How has filing taxes as one household tainted your marriage? How has legally being the designated decision maker when the other spouse can't speak for themselves ruined the decisions a straight person can make? Has anyone divorced their husband or wife because gay people are legally "allowed" to marry? (unless said person is gay and decided to come out and live their life...but that's a whole other concept)

I just shake my head at people's arguments. I recently browsed some blogs and came across this post. (I particularly love the sanctity of marriage comments, the marrying dogs one and the marriage should be decided by the voters.) I was so very moved by this man's simple, basic and straightforward refutes I have re-read it multiple times. There is an underlying anger burning but he comes across in some pretty common sense retorts. He also wrote this one that made me want to stand up and high five someone and breakdown into tears at the same time.

This decision in California makes me happy because I see it as one small step forward for gay people. You know, Massachusetts has had legalized gay marriage for years, years I said. Has the Mormon church forgotten about them? What about Iowa?

I consider myself a spiritual person, I may not go to church frequently or even consistently, but I have a good relationship with God. I believe that He loves me for who I am, for my commitment to my wife for my love and support I show her every single day. I try to love others, help others and follow what path God has laid out for me. My God does not hate me for committing my life to my spouse, or desiring to raise children. He won't send me to hell when I die for loving Jocelyn all my life and being a faithful wife. I don't believe it. If you do, I suppose you can pray for me or whatever you believe will "save" me but I don't think I need it.

I'll end this rant here and remind everyone who reads my blog who is legally married and has all the rights and freedoms that document provides you that Jocelyn and I don't have, to be grateful and thankful that you don't have to think about it at all. Be thankful people don't do a double take when you are holding hands with your spouse in public, and that the simple things you take for granted daily are freedoms that gay people are fighting for.

Love each other man! Why does hate have to be the underlying emotion to so many people's arguments?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


What does it mean to be jealous? Is all jealousy bad or can there be a "healthy" level of jealousy?
What about envy?
Aren't these all part of the seven deadly sins? Well, maybe not jealousy but envy is and isn't jealousy a precursor of envy?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mr. Potter

This summer has been really great for my reading. Since finishing school, and continuing to work part time I have had many hours of leisurely reading time for none other than, me. And it's been grand! I was able to breeze through a few great books, maybe I'll mention them here and a quick synopsis (as I'm glancing at my bookshelf now, I'm surely only hitting a few).
The Girls From Ames, Jeffery Zaslow
Great read about a group of 13 women and how they have forged a friendship from youth to now (mostly in their 40s or 50s) without technology (initially) and living across the country. It was a little slow to get into as you have to learn who they are and sort of keep flipping back to the pictures to place them together but in the end, there are many tears and you want to pick up the phone and call your best friends and say, "thanks for being my friend". A great read for any woman with good friends from youth.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
This one took me ages to pick up and commit to actually reading. I work with a guy who is a Cormac McCarthy fan and he told me repeatedly to read it. It's not a happy book, it's pretty much a survival story of a father and son after the world has... ended isn't the right word. It's almost as I'd imagine the world would be if whatever happened to the dinosaurs happened now. It was a fast read once I got into it, and like I said, it's not a feel good book. The cover is black for gosh sakes, and the ending isn't the "happiest" but still worth it.
City of Thieves, David Benioff
Oh man, I really enjoyed this quick read. Based on a true story, set in Russia during Nazi-era when Hilter and the Germans were attempting to take over Russia. This story is around a boy (the author's grand father) and a way-ward Russian soldier who are sent on a mission to get one dozen eggs... great writing, adventure and humor make this story, great... I highly recommend it.
The 8th Confession, James Patterson
I enjoy the stories of the Lady Detective series... they are fast, suspenseful reads and easy to plow through in a few days. The 9th one is out but I'm waiting for soft cover.
Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt
Another quick read, a true story of the author's sudden and unexpected loss of his daughter (an accomplished doctor to a rare hear defect) and how him and his wife move in with their son-in-law and their 3 kids (all very young). It's a great story about loss, grief and moving on after someone dies.
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
I'm working on this one... a girl at work lent it to me and I enjoy the writing style and the author's vigor to find meaning in her life. I just let myself get interrupted by none other than Mr. Harry Potter. As I saw a preview for the final movie and wanted to re-read the final books. So, I haven't finished this one- but I will and I'm sure it'll be a fine read over all.
Harry Potter (book 5)
I don't know how many HP fans are out there reading this, but I just love these books! If you haven't read the series, I highly recommend plowing through the first couple and then enjoying the 4-7 books (the best in my opinion). I had forgotten how long the 5th book was... blimey! But I finished it last night and this morning picked up the 6th one. It's different knowing what the ending is, ultimately, but the suspense is still there. And I'm really picking up on things I probably breezed over in the first couple reads. (Yes, this is my third or fourth time reading the books...)

So that's it. I have until August 16th to fit in more reading... I still have 3 books I definitely need to get in, that I'd forgotten about when I bought them. I love a good read!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You probably already know...

I think all of the 5 people who still read my blog are friends with me on facebook and know that I accepted an adjunct teaching position at Michigan State University for the fall semester 2010. What a relief! I was so happy to accept and feel like a contributing part of my relationship again. I have really enjoyed being part time, having that extra day a week to do, honestly? nothing. But, it's time I get going with reality. The big question I keep seeing and hearing is, are you leaving saints? The answer- not at the moment. For you non-academics, adjunct=no benefits, so as healthy as I am and not necessarily in need of benefits, they are nice to have for the "just in case" times and then there's that whole attempting to get pregnant thing... so i'll be staying at Saints part time. Every week feels differently at work, I feel it's a perfect fit and I don't want to leave the bedside one week then the next comes and I'm feeling burned out and don't want to come back. So, for now, I stay and work.
The job starts August 16th, so I have about a month of mentally preparing and organizing myself before jumping in! Thanks for all the encouragement and faith, praying it goes well and I have a good group of students to start my teaching experience.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What'd you call me?!

July, can you believe it's July (almost)?! I called my mom today and realized this weekend is the 4th, wow. You know, I'm not sure why time moving so quickly is so surprising to me (always). It just is.
So, I'm not pregnant, I can say this confidently. I had a few days there that I thought it was going to happen, but I think I psyched myself out (and Joc too). So, back to the grindstone we go. With hopeful thoughts for the next round, which I think I'll keep more on the dl for our sanity and the decreased pressure. Not that I don't like the support, I just think it might put added pressure on my uterus, egg and those foreign spermies. So, when and if I'm pregnant, you'll find out. And thank you for the kind words and support you've shown us without hesitation, I really do appreciate your love and support, it is felt through the WWW. (c:

So, my next ventures this summer are:
1. MSU interview (that's correct people, MSU!) through my connections at school, I've secured an interview (finally!) for a clinical teaching position for the fall. thank the Lord! Ferris officially emailed the generic "thank you for your interest BUT we've filled our positions, we'll keep your CV on file, blah blah blah" so they're out. My last other hope is Davenport where I submitted an app for a clinical coordinator position, they are reviewing the applicants and calling for interviews around the 9th of July, so if that were to come through I might be more excited than MSU because it would be a pretty good experience. as always, I'll keep you posted.
(On a side note, there was a small article in the Sunday GR Press about the high need for Nursing instructors... right, I was ticked when I read that. If you need em so badly, why don't you hire people who are fully capable?! BA! This looking for a job is a biotch man!)
2. Tri Del Sol July 17th. My first tri of the season, I'm not as trained as I'd like to be (as I was last season) because my training buddy went to Africa and it's not as easy for me to get in the open waters of Millennium Park knowing what's in the water... I know it's a bit pathetic but what can I say? (c: But it's doable, and I purchased clip-on pedals so I'm all set for a good race.
3. Millennium Tri August 8th. Same story as above but it's a touch shorter and I'll be better prepared because of the Tri del Sol and more time between races.

That's it. I really got online this morning to check into my cable bill and what would be cheaper AT&T or Comcast, and to organize my student loans... damn things. But since it's been awhile since I've updated, I was distracted. Now, onward to evaluate my costs!

Happy July people!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's here!

It's June... and I'm days away from ovulation. Too much info? You may want to stop reading now (c: This is the month, our first attempt at pregnancy. Over the last two or three years I'd say, Joc and I have gone back and forth about starting a family. I can't remember if I've shared our struggles on this blog, so I'll fill you in now (again possibly).
It started with me not feeling ready for a family, I wanted so badly to travel as a nurse and get the hell out of Grand Rapids and Michigan for that matter. Joc felt the desire to carry a child pretty strongly and I was indifferent about the idea. (Sidebar: I always had this feeling that I would be single all my life, that I might eventually adopt a child if I came to that crossroads in my life, but I had definitely not planned on children or a partner in my life, obviously that has all changed for me, as life always leads us in different directions than planned). After I spent my summer as a nurse in Denver and missed Michigan like hell (and the hospital as well), we decided to get Jocelyn prepared to get pregnant. Now, I'm pretty sure that most of you who read this blog are well aware of my sexuality and that I'm gay... so I shouldn't have to point out that we needed a bit of sperm to make this happen. I'm sure I'm remembering it easier than it was, we went and spoke to a fertility doctor in GR, who explained the process, what we'd be looking at for costs, yadda yadda. It came down to Jocelyn's depression, she's on anti-depressants and would need to wean herself off. So, she began the long process of decreasing her dose, and let's just say it failed, miserably for all involved. (c: So, then the hurdle came of her coming to the realization that she just wasn't going to be able to carry a child in a healthy way, especially since we couldn't just have one of those, "oops! forgot the condom/birth control/diaphragm" kind of nights and "wala!" pregnant... So, we backed off, for probably a year we didn't do too much talking about it, I had begun to realize it was either me or adoption. We looked into adoption, it's costly and difficult for a same-sex couple to adopt in this state, not illegal but extremely difficult. We finally got to the point of me being the uterus (it wasn't an easy process for Joc as she prepared for what her feelings might be like watching me pregnant and wanting it badly herself). We went back to the fertility doctor who went through the process again for us, I started taking my temperatures to track my ovulation and we set a tentative month as April to try. Well, the beauty of planning pregnancy as we've done is that it's easy to push back the dates, there's always something to wait for. We knew we wouldn't go for February or March, because of our Mexican vacation... I wasn't paying $1000 to sit at the pool and drink Shirley Temples, so April would have been a good month. Then my friend Kelly and Oliver got engaged and invited us for a late May wedding in San Francisco... after some thought and internal ethical debate (would it be bad to get the insemination in the middle of May and then go to the wedding and drink knowing I might be pregnant?) so we pushed to June. Then more problems arose at the end of April, early May with Jocelyn and the struggle of the Catholic faith and what we were "allowed" to do and be according to "them". It was not easy, I'll leave it at that, for Joc to accept that our child who was conceived out of love but not in the "traditional" method, was unaccepted. I can say that I was much more at ease with the choice than Jocelyn. There were priests and prayers and arguments and tears shed, but in the end, I guess I can say I won. (And I'm happy to report that a study that just came out of California shows children from same-sex female parenting did better in their 17 years than those in heterosexual households. So there! No evidence that it's better or worse to have two moms.)
So here we are! June 8th, according to my past cycles (all very regular 28 days) I should have my LH surge (that's ovulation folks) tomorrow or the 10th. Gulp. Our sperm is on stand by at the office, waiting to meet our egg... and I say our's because while it's coming from my ovary, it's still a labor of both our love.
I am keeping my excitement down, I'm nervous that I'll ovulate on the 10th while I'm working and not be able to have the insemination until Friday... is that gonna hinder us? Who knows. It probably won't take the first time, the sperm website says 4-6 attempts, our doctor says he'd give it 3 unsuccessful attempts before running tests. But, maybe it will... we should know by the end of the month if it worked but of course, will need to wait for that 10-12 week mark before really spreading the word (in case it doesn't take). I'm nervous about this huge change... about telling people I'm pregnant and dealing with their comments or lack there of. My body is going to change in multiple ways, I mean there's going to be a kid inside me! I'm honestly a little afraid of what people at work will think and (this is sort of pathetic) if they'll throw me a baby shower... it's funny the things you worry about. I know that it's going to be a long 10 months or so of no alcohol... again, pathetic but when I enjoy a good summer shandy on a hot evening, I'll have to get used to a nice summer lemonade or that Shirley Temple. But we are ready, this new step will be fun as partners, friends and women.
We are so ready.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer's here and so is Emily!

Ahhh! just got home from a nice muggy run, my eyes were burning from the sweat and i felt sluggish from the heat but man is it nice to run outside in the sun! Ready to turn up my training for my triathalons this summer.
Well, I returned home to GR from a week in Cadillac helping out with my new niece and my 2.75 year old nephew. Man, is he a handful! Everyday I spent with him I was exhausted. I'm not a nap taker but boy was I ever last week, every afternoon after he laid down for his nap so did Auntie Jenn. Emily, my niece, is perfect. She's tiny (for a Gable) 8lb 6 oz and a little short really, only 20 inches long. In contrast to her big brother, she sleeps a lot and eats well. Juli said she only woke up once one night and another, she had to wake her up to feed her. I remember Lucas was a crier, he cried often and loudly... but I suppose babies do that. (c: Jules was doing well, looked tired a few days but will get the swing of things I suppose. Lucas did well with Emily, when she was born he kept saying, "Emily's not in mama's belly anymore. She's at the hospital" It was cute. Once they went home, and Joc and I were out playing with Lucas, he'd get angry if you were holding Emily. "Put the baby down!" and I felt bad for Jules one day he was angry with her, woke up from his nap angry at her, even told her so. "I'm mad at you mama!" He'll get used to Emily hanging around, and he'll probably end up loving her quite a bit to play wiht and push around. She just needs to grow up first (c:
Still on the job hunt, I hear all these rumors of openings, retirements and the "shortage of teachers" but no one has called me back. Funny how that works. I'll keep trying.
Doctor's appointment today, work tomorrow then off to California for a wedding weekend. I'm excited to see Kelly and Oliver get hitched in San Fransisco.
I'll add a few shots of miss Emily for those of you without Facebook (Rachael!).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wasting Time

What the heck, I've got nothin' better to do! Since graduation, I've successfully done pretty much nothing with my life and it's been great! The last couple days have been lazy days of reading, watching TV and surfing the web... but now I'm getting bored. My running has even been impacted, it's getting bad. For example, I can sit and watch an episode of "The Biggest Loser" and feel empowered to go work out then I get distracted by gosh knows what and it's later in the day and I have to get showered and dressed. Really, it's all about making excuses. It doesn't help that it's been sub-zero temperatures outside (ok, 40s but still). I'm back in the game tomorrow, I promise myself. I've got some tris to train for darn it!
Still waiting on word of a job. GRCC still has my CV and cover letter, I made a call to their HR department to see what my next step is. I'm thinking I will send an email too and see if I get a response quicker from that. I just emailed my information to Davenport University for an opening for an adjunct nursing faculty person, is it too soon to call them? (c: Yes, since I hit send approximately 10 minutes ago... darn. I emailed with the dean at Western Michigan University, they have two full time, tenure track positions just waiting to be filled. Unfortunately, I lack the magical abbreviation behind my name (PhD) so I have to wait until they have a MSN position open. I really liked the sound of their philosophy and mission, so they are staying on my radar. Back up plans if I have had no word by June will be to apply at Baker College (Cadillac) and maybe try MSU (through my prof or previous preceptor). There's also a spot open at West Shore CC, but that's a good hour and 40 minute commute in good weather... I don't want to think about winters. Those are my back up plans... it's hard to not get discouraged that no one is even responding to my CV... how is it all you hear is related to the shortage of nursing faculty yet no one wants to hire someone interested?! UGH. I suppose I've never had to look for a job, so this is probably normal. In the back of my head I am worried that if I don't use the knowledge I've acquired, I'm going to lose it.
If no one calls me by mid June, I'm gonna have to start broadening my search...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What doesn't kill us...

Well, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I won't be hired at a specific nursing school that I really wanted to be hired at. I should have listened to my gut, once again, and not even applied. I spent a small part of this morning sitting down for what I thought was an interview for a job but what this person, let's call her Bob for faster typing purposes, thought was a consultation. Bob took the 30 minutes we sat together to explain why she wouldn't hire me, why most nursing schools wouldn't hire me. In Bob's words, "No one hires Master's prepared graduates without teaching experience into a Baccalaureate program". I won't go into too many details, just believe me when I say Bob was unprofessional in her interviewing and the majority of the time I wanted to reach across the desk and punch her in the face then gather my stuff and say, "I can see this was a huge waste of my time." Instead, I sat there and listened to her tell me what wasn't good about my CV and why she wouldn't hire me. So I sat down in my car afterward and cried out of anger, frustration, fear and loathing. I got home and emailed my professor who has been telling us that we are "experts" in nursing education, that we know more about nursing education than some of the professors teaching today. I'm waiting to hear back from her, hoping she'll tell me it was a fluke of an interview and to learn from it and move forward.
Here's hoping.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Countdown to a fresh start

I've officially started my "lasts" of grad school...
-last project (check)
-last paper (check)
-last discussion posting (check)
-last course evaluations (check)
-last quiz, this week
-last journal, due Monday

It's a little overwhelming and a little sad really. I have been looking forward to May 7th since January and now that it's only a little less than 3 weeks away I feel nauseous... I've applied to two schools, "spoke" via email with one director who is not quite ready to start looking at fall semester adjunct facutly yet but "will keep my CV close". (Good? Bad? who knows?) and I am meeting with the other director in a week, even though I was told "we have no posted positions..." what does that mean? Sigh. Can I just say "I really want a job, can you help me with that?" Do I have to go through all the emotions of sending my information, waiting, calling to inquire, setting up an interview, interviewing and then waiting to hear... I'd take summer classes to get out of that! (c: Well, maybe not but it's a thought!
So, my last weeks of grad school trickle by and life returns to "normal", actually I don't know what normal is anymore. So, let's say it starts fresh... hopefully it's a good fresh...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One song

Do you know how one song can stop you in your tracks, pull you backwards in time to a place only you remember? I have many of those songs, for many different situations. I probably have this because I let music define my life, I have a mini-soundtrack, produced by yours truly, that is constantly playing in my mind. Ask a co-worker and they'll tell you I'm constantly singing or someone will say something and I'll bust into song. I've been told it's pretty entertaining.
Today, while finishing up a paper, I decided to throw on my Sarah McLachlan mix in iTunes. Now, if my friend Sara were still reading my blog she'd immediately ask me "what's wrong?" because I used to put Sarah (McLachlan... I'm on a first name basis with many of the artists on my playlists) on when I was having a bad day, needed a good cry, felt like dwelling, was sad, depressed, yadda yadda, you get it. It's different for me these days, as I've written before, my life is no longer that dark place it used to be but like everyone, I have bad days. Today, though mostly a good day, has had some ups and downs. I started by watching a "Biggest Loser" episode and that's probably where I took a hard turn. There is a father-daughter pair on the show and there was a moment in the show where they had a heart to heart and blah blah blah, there was crying and hugging and "I love yous" and I was crying too (because who can watch that show without tearing up, some of their stories are heart-wrenching). It just was another slap in the face to a glaringly absent space in my life. It's hard to see fathers and daughters share that bond some days because it's something I will never have the chance to have, ever again. It made me think of my dad, a lot and made me miss him. So, I suppose putting Sarah on today wasn't too different from when I was younger.
When my family got home from the hospital (after my dad died) I sat in my room and put Sarah's "Angel" on repeat and cried. When Sara's (Beeler-Lothschutz) dad died in college and I got back to the dorms from her house, I put Sarah (McLachlan- keep up man!) in the CD player and sat in the lounge and cried. That day I mostly cried for myself, remembering what it was like loosing dad, learning to live without him in our everydays. I remember opening the fridge not long after the funeral and seeing the cheese we had bought for him in the door and crying. I remember putting his clothes in a garage sale and one man coming by and buying it all. I remember the little card I kept in my back pocket of my softball pants with a note from him, until I washed it (that was a bad day too). I remember a little about him. Red hair, big guy, big feet, hearty laugh, a scar on his middle finger, palm side of his left hand (in fact when I look at my hands I see his sometimes). Varicose veins (thank you very much!), bald spot, warm armpits (long story...), baker. Bits and pieces remain.
I made my mom a scrapbook awhile back about our family. Later, she posted a note she'd written us after he died that says (basically) that he wouldn't have wanted us to remember him lying on the kitchen floor, his heart would want us to remember him healthy and happy, his heart that wanted to see us grow up and get married and have kids, his heart that loved us so. I still can't read that without crying.
Some days you just need a good cry, a "beautiful release, memories seep from my veins..." Sarah says it so well. This is grief folks, never ending, perpetual and so damn sad. It sucks.
My boss's husband died last week, Joc and I went to the viewing and the moment I walked into the funeral home I wanted to leave. Seriously, how can one smell bring you to a place so vividly? Sort of like a good song.
I feel better now. Back to that paper and living life, that's one thing that is never changing. Life sure does go on.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Group work

Why does group work go so well some days and so wrong others? One of the final projects for grad school is writing a group paper on Obama's health care reform. One chick in my group seems to be clueless on what it means to support her thoughts with evidence... hello? I'm glad she knows everything she does but without support, it means nothing. Does this mean I will have to write her section? I'm so glad every other group paper throughout school has gone pretty smoothly and received a good grade. I mean, this paper is worth 30% of my freaking grade, it matters to me! I'm almost done, can't it be easy for once? Baaaaa!
Feeling the stress of final projects, just gotta get through a few more weeks and it's over. Oh, and in case you aren't on Facebook, or didn't see my update, I passed my comp exam! Sweet mother, that was pure relief and elation when I read "Congrats!" I screamed like a little girl, it was great. Then, back to reality... group papers and all. Ugh.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Which one will it be?

So, Jocelyn and I took the time last night to review our sperm choices from the bank website. We picked our top 3 donors that will (hopefully) impregnate me and give us a little babe to toss around. I have many different emotions and feelings attached to this process and a little uncertainty in my fertility. I keep looking at our life and saying, "it's all going to change so much". Yesterday, as an April fools joke, a friend emailed everyone and said that her and her partner had decided to get pregnant and Saturday was their first attempt. My initial feelings were those of jealousy that they might get pregnant before us and irritation that they did not talk to us about it since we've been very open about our journey with them. Then, I was excited that we might be pregnant at the same time and share in baby stories and adventures together with our children. Then the email "APRIL FOOLS!" came and I could only laugh at myself that I had fallen for it without a second thought. Then the disappointment came knowing that if and when we are pregnant, our relationships with our friends might change because of our child (eventually children). I look back at the friends I have who have children and see them altered. I see their focus change and their freedom (for lack of a better word right now) different from Joc and I. Right now, our biggest commitment is Cooper, whom we can board at the kennel or leave home for the afternoon... if we do that with a little one, CPS might be knocking at our door. (c: (BTW- we have no plans on doing this, just to keep things clear) I'm not worried about our abilities to be moms, I'm not concerned we won't be able to handle it (although I might need to remind Joc a few times that she's no longer allowed to whine so much). I'm not even sure I'm worried, just anxious to see what life has for us. I've been saying for a while that my 30s are going to be good, and I think it will be related to building our family and having a great time doing it. Some days I think that we shouldn't wait, that there will always be one more excuse to hold off another month and we should just bite the bullet. Then I think, this will be our last couple months of selfishness and that the next 18-30 years (oh gosh!) will be focused on someone else's needs.
And so my last month of grad school continues, I sent out two applications for faculty positions, and we are planning a family. 2010 is shaping up to be a good year!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I just bought my cap and gown...gulp!

Well, today is a great end to the week. I am officially re-certified as an ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) provider, I completed my comprehensive exam for my three-year, advanced degree in nursing education (although the best will be when I hear back whether I have passed all of the 5 parts, then the true relief comes), and the weather has been beautiful since our return from Mexico. To top it all off: I bought my cap, gown and cape thing for my May 7th graduation. It should arrive in the mail in one week, I hope I measured my head correctly and when it asked for my chest size I went with the bra size... they make those things big right? I also decided to purchase a nursing pin from MSU, since I have already lost my UDM (undergrad) pin I hope to take better care with this one. We don't have a pinning ceremony for this degree, but I think it represents my education.
Now I just have to make it through a project and a health policy paper on Obama's new healthcare bill. Sounds simple enough.
I am finished teaching clinical for my graduate degree, now I have to move into the role of the teacher. I am looking forward to this, the next question I usually get is: "now what are you going to do?" So, why don't I just fill you in on my plan today, March 19th, 2010 (subject to change in the next 53 days):
there are posted openings through Ferris State University and GRCC that I hope to submit my resume or CV for, I also have a personal referral from Sister Linda (my undergrad teacher and my preceptor from last semester) to apply for the med-surg professor opening at UDM in Grand Rapids. I have some reservations related to this position. UDM is moving towards requiring all full-time professors to enroll in a PhD program. I do not desire a doctorate degree (at this time) nor a full-time position as I want to keep my part-time job in the hospital, and I have another reservation that I am choosing not to write about. I am almost certain I will submit my resume to all three options and see what turns up for choices and where I can start as soon as possible so I can start bringing in some dinero. I have butterflies thinking about running a clinical solo or standing in front of a classroom teaching students, actually teaching them. gulp.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bucket List

what's on your bucket lists? I caught a show on MTV this weekend called "The Buried Life" about 4 guys who made a list of the 100 things they want to do before they die and they are doing them. Along the way they are involving regular people and asking what they want to do before they die then helping them accomplish it. For example, the show I watched, they wanted to party at the Playboy mansion (they snuck in, it was funny and only 2 of them got in) and they raised money (by playing music and performing on the street) to buy a computer for a local elementary school, because that's what the guy they stopped and asked wanted to do before he died. It was a good show, and got me thinking. I suppose I'd like to do some skydiving, see the Grand Canyon, buy a house in Ireland, be a parent, make a difference in someone's life....
What about you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not to rub it in but...

The countdown to Mexico begins today! 12 days until Joc and I are in the hot weather. Thank God! This Michigan winter is enough to send someone off the deep end. February has proven to be very blah, cold and more blah, okay so last week we had a few sunshine days but I was mostly indoors without the opportunity to get out and experience them so baaaa! they don't count for me. As excited and ready for a break as I am, it worries me that the semester is progressing so quickly and without regard for my stress level. I keep telling myself that life will ease up after spring break and after the cumulative exam on the 17th but I'm not so sure, but praying it gets lighter. My last three trips to Lansing happen this week (2) and next week (Thursday) and then I'll have a few extra hours to complete homework and readings and get some resumes out to colleges.

I had a particularly emotionally draining day at work yesterday, I am precepting a senior level nursing student (what we call the leadership rotation, it's an opportunity to get the student into the nursing world) who is hungry to learn everything and anything she can. This can be particularly draining simply because it's double the load on my brain and can really slow down my day that is already busy and complex. But, I love to teach and love to offer experiences so I truly don't mind in the least and if it's just not a good time, I say, "we'll need to talk about that later". Anyhoo, we had a 63 year old gentleman who was alone at home for approximately 5 hours and found unresponsive by family, EMS brought him to the ER where he deteriorated quickly needing a breathing tube (for my medical friends he promptly vomited and aspirated with the intubation adding to his problems) then his CT scan (of his brain) showed a brain stem infarct (large) (translation: he had a large stroke). To keep the story short: neurologist comes to assess him and tells the family he is nearly brain dead (but not quite), ICU doctor tells the family he is nearly dead and he will most likely not survive this stroke, family is large and outspoken, upset (understandably), don't understand that his reaction to pain is a reflex as opposed to the brain telling him to respond to pain appropriately. I took over Sunday morning where we met with the neurologist twice (once for a thorough assessment to demonstrate to the family how poor his prognosis is and a second time to look at a new scan of his brain that showed about 80% of his brain tissue severely and permanently damaged), then with the ICU doctor twice to talk about his code status and the options for treatment as well as at the end of the 12 hour day to talk about his rising and uncontrollable temperature (between 38 and 39.5 celcius or 102-104ish F). There were many emotions running high all day and I left with a headache and exhausted. He will die, they were coming to terms with the decision to take him off life support because he will never recover. I hope I helped them feel at ease with that hard and unimaginable decision. They want to be sure he will never wake up, no one can tell them for 100% certainty, we can offer a 99% chance he will never wake up but they cling to that 1% chance of a miracle. Are they wrong? If we wait too long and he doesn't herniate on his own, he will live on a vent with a feeding tube in a nursing home for however long it takes his heart to stop beating of its own accord. How many people want that?
It's been a long time since I've been involved in a case like this one, it felt good to come into their lives at such a hard time and offer a support they needed. They look for hope in every small nook and the word miracle was thrown out a few times, with the neurologist and ICU doctor both saying if he survives this and wakes up, it will be a miracle. It sounds bad to most non-medical people, but I pray he dies on his own. I pray his brain herniates and his heart stops beating and his family is relieved of this burden they truly don't want right now. Can you pray that God will do that for this family?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I just changed/updated my blog page and read a few people's posts and now I'm inspired to post another post. (I was going to try to squeeze the word "post" one more time but decided against it)
Life has been a bit crazy around here for me, this final semester of grad school is proving as the most difficult. On top of the 6 credits (which may not sound like a lot, it is for grad school on top of working and living...) the program I am in (MSU) has a comprehensive exam that my classmates and myself must pass in order to graduate in May. It covers the 4 core courses of the program and also will require me to design a nursing course, including writing objectives, creating a syllabus and I'm sure some lesson plans too. It's a lot. We were given a study guide and I have met two other classmates and we have studied some together. Thank God I took all my classes quite seriously over the years so much of this will be reviewing and re-establishing the pathways created years ago. It's still nerveracking. The exam is the 17th of March, about a month away. It's a 4 or 5 hour test, mostly short answer/essay, which I consider myself pretty good at. And I found out that my class is the final class taking the comprehensive test, bloody likely!
Classes are interesting, I'm student teaching at MSU in Lansing at Sparrow Hospital two days a week, through the first week of March. I have enjoyed the students in our clinical group and I'm learning a bit about the professor I plan on being both in the classroom and in the hospital setting. I'm currently job hunting, GRCC has a few adjunct prof openings that I'll send my resume over for as well as Ferris and I'm debating in my head whether I should send a resume to UDM (my alma mater). My co-workers keep asking what I plan on doing and while I don't plan on quitting bedside nursing, I know that right now I'm experiencing some role ambuiguity and confusion but that goes deeper than my education and I don't want to go too deeply into that on a public blog. In my mind, I would love to take an adjunct position at a local college and teach one classroom course and one clinical course, ideally that would start me out on a good foot. If I find that dream job, I plan on continuing in my current position at Saint's and staying part-time, two 12's a week (as long as I don't get too overwhelmed). The most important things to me are educating my students well and giving safe patient care, if my schedule impedes my abilities in either I will modify the one that is easiest to modify. It still doesn't feel real that I will have an MSN in 3 months! (P.S. graduation is May 7th and Joc and I are planning an open house celebration at our house on the 8th... we are thinking Yesterdog to cater!)
On the home front, Joc and I are attempting to begin a family... difficult when we're shooting blanks! (Ha! i love to throw that out for people and they get this look on their face, then get the joke) If we go the insemination route, I will carry our baby. But we are also looking into adoption, which is very difficult to acheive through a MI agency, so we've found one in Indiana. Although, same sex couples can't legally adopt in the state but please don't get me started on the discrimination laws in this country! We are also shopping for a lawyer to help us take the right steps. I follow a blog (Be gay about it) about a couple in Wisconsin who just got two babies and it's so exciting to read about. I can only hope that whichever way a child comes into our family we can provide a good, safe, happy and loving home for them.
As you can see, I had a spurt of writing umph hit me there but now I should continue on with my homework and studying. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Here I am

I missed a month, on here that is, not in life... I was definitely present for the last month in life.

I've been thinking a lot about old friends lately. Why do we stay friends with some people and not others? I think back on life, and I remember many different people's influences in my life yet only a handful are still an active part of my life. You know that quote, "Some people come into our lives and leave foot prints on our hearts" that's not exactly the right words but the idea is that people come into our lives and leave us but what they leave behind is what we have to remember them. I'm not the best of friends, I am not good at returning phone calls in a timely manner. Maybe this is why I have more footprints on my heart... There is something to be said about re-connecting with an old friend. I enjoy the feeling of talking to them and learning about their lives and what has "come true" of their dreams.

My writing drive is on leave.
Life is sucking me dry lately.
Just got to let it be and find my way.